Statehood Day: Rio reflects on ‘wonderful’ journey; urges Naga groups to honour Covenant of Reconciliation
Kohima, Dec. 1 (EMN): Nagaland celebrated its 58th Statehood Day at the secretariat plaza in Kohima on Tuesday in an empty arena necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and against the backdrop of a boycott by the Eastern Naga Students’ Union.
In his speech, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said that Nagaland’s journey since its creation has been wonderful by any yardstick, with significant achievements to show in every field. The state has seen development and progress, and the quality of life enjoyed by the people has seen improvement, though many challenges remain, he said.
“We have been able to build good capabilities in every sector, and our unified response in combating Covid-19 is a testimony of it. However, we are all aware that there are many developmental areas and sectors, where a lot remains to be done and together we need to continue with persistent efforts to ensure that Nagaland is at par with the rest of the states in the country,” said Rio.
The chief minister remembered the past leaders, who by their sacrifices, foresightedness and determination, ensured the creation of Nagaland state with special Constitutional provisions on December 1, 1963.
The quest for final solution to the Naga political issue has also continued all along as the people continued making every effort for all-round progress, he said.
The long journey towards the “final solution” has passed many stretches and milestones, Rio said while expressing hope that “the journey is finally reaching its ultimate destination”.
He called upon the people to continue with the same spirit of understanding and oneness towards the eventual solution without any delay as the negotiations between government of India and various Naga political groups continue.
The chief minister reiterated on the seven-point resolution that was adopted on October 15 in a consultative meet between the state government and various stakeholders. He said that the resolution acknowledges the sacrifices and contributions of the nationalist workers in the course of the Naga political journey.
Rio urged the Naga political groups to honour and respect the Covenant of Reconciliation, and maintain the sanctity of non-violence in letter and spirit for a shared Naga future as members of one Naga family.
With citizens’ co-operation, the state has achieved some success in controlling the spread of the Covid-19, according to the chief minister.
“We should also be aware that the threat of the pandemic still exists and we cannot afford to lower our guard any time soon,” Rio said. Further, he appealed to continue to follow safety protocols and adhere to health advisories and standard operating procedures issued by the government.
The state is facing a crisis of enormous magnitude in the form of Covid-19 pandemic, Rio said, adding that it requires an extraordinary response from everyone on many fronts. Yet, he said, the state has been able to strongly rise and prove equal to the challenge.
Rio maintained that there has been substantial improvement in the health facilities to deal with Covid-19 cases. Besides improving healthcare infrastructure and equipments in the hospitals, the number of health professionals has also seen a big increase, he said.
During the pandemic, the government has recruited 109 medical doctors, five dental surgeons, 129 nurses, six research scientists, six laboratory technicians for BSL, 10 OT technicians and 13 ECG technicians. The appointment of 21 AYUSH doctors and 129 nurses is nearing completion, Rio informed.
Covid-19: New initiative emerges
The extraordinary situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted new initiatives and approaches from various departments and agencies. In his speech, Rio gave an overview of the new initiatives and the achievements that the state has made during this pandemic.
The department of Employment, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, took several initiatives this year to address unemployment and forge skilled labour. Some of the department’s initiative include mobile skill morung, Nagaland Joblinks portal, and multi skilled handyman programme.
LaunchPad—a career guidance and skills development programme was introduced by the department of Youth Resources and Sports in partnership with YouthNet. Task Force for Music and Arts has started music incubation programme during the pandemic, Rio said.
The department of Women Resource Development embarked on production of reusable and affordable three-layered masks for frontline workers, which enabled the department to rope in unemployed local women tailors, thereby providing them a source of livelihood. DUDA initiated income generating activities for the rural populace by way of providing machineries to farmers and procuring farmers’ products.
The department of Agriculture distributed selected Kharif and Rabi seeds on basis of local needs well ahead of time to ensure that farmers do not suffer due to Covid restrictions. It initiated an action plan to take up the Naga model of Integrated Settled Farming on pilot basis during the current year. To give a further boost to the economy and to create employment opportunities, special programmes under NEC funding was launched for Agriculture and allied sectors, he added
In order to meet the demand for quality planting materials for economically important crops like orange and temperate exotic crops like kiwi and persimmon, the department of Horticulture, started two units of nurseries, one for orange in Kohima and another for kiwi and persimmon in Pfutsero. Tourism department also outlined several strategies for the revival of Tourism industry in a safe and sustainable manner thereby promoting it as a safe destination.
To meet the challenges arising out of the closure of the schools due to Covid-19, department of School Education launched online digital education, developed online students’ evaluation portal, constituted continuous learning and monitoring cell and launched teacher’s application.
As for the Higher Education, it laid down foundation stone of the Professional College of Music & Fine Arts, Tsiesema, Kohima District, inaugurated Science Laboratory building of Phek Government College and science stream building at Dimapur Government College.
The academic session of the newly established Government Polytechnic Aboi, Mon along with Goverment Polytechnic Wokha and Peren is expected to start from 2021-22, since the government has cleared creation of posts.
He informed that under MoRTH, DoNER, and NEC for various categories, 48 projects covering more than 597 kilometres of roads are been taken up this financial year. Under PMGSY work is ongoing on another 300 kilometres of road.
The PHED, during a 100-day campaign to provide water supply to all the schools and anganwadis, provided piped water supply to 380 schools and 110 anganwadis. Under MGNREGA, the approved target for the current financial year for the State is 200 lakh person days, out of which 135.38 lakh person days have been generated till date, Rio said.
Directorate of Fire & Emergency Services has completed the construction of the central workshop at new capital complex, Kohima and it will be inaugurated soon.
The CAWD has completed the construction of residences of four deputy commissioners which will be inaugurated shortly. The Directorate of Home Guards, Civil Defence and State Disaster Response Force has completed the construction of the 100-bedded trainees’ barracks multi-storey building at Central Training Institute, Toluvi in Dimapur.
The Municipal Affairs department under KSCDL (Kohima Smart City Development Ltd.), has resumed three uncompleted projects under the mission—multilevel vehicle parking at Old Medical Directorate and at Old NST, and the Capital Cultural Hall.
Rio also conveyed his best wishes to the people of Noklak district, the youngest district in the state. He expressed belief that the district will soon attain high levels of development with its good resources, hard-working and ingenious people..